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Thread: SNOW MACHINE -snowmobiling

  1. #1

    SNOW MACHINE -snowmobiling


    CPA staff

    source: CPA

    Ingenuity and determination allowed John Boyd, CPA member and ventilator user, to get back on the winter trails.

    Snowmobiling has evolved into an incredibly popular Canadian winter pastime. Many CPA Members, like hundreds of thousands of able-bodied Canadians, eagerly await the first snowfall of each year. But how many of them are ventilator dependent quadriplegics?

    John Boyd is. John became a complete C3 quad as a result of an industrial accident in 1979. Since then, he has demonstrated time and again that he has a sense of adventure that just won't quit. He's travelled to the tropics and toured Jamaica from the back of a pick-up. In the past, Winnipeg's winters have kept him captive indoors-but not any more.

    "It all started about five years ago," explains John. "I always loved snowmobiling. I started by borrowing a sleigh; having myself and my chair loaded onto a plastic toboggan and pulled behind a regular snowmobile. I wanted to know if I could handle the cold. I could...but my respirator couldn't."

    John put his thinking cap on and decided to design a sleigh that would meet his unique needs. In 1997, he approached Jeff Baxendale, a friend in Thunder Bay who builds stock cars. Concept quickly led to construction.

    The result is nothing short of amazing: a sleek, custom sleigh that's perfectly matched to the towing machine, a 1998 Skidoo Grand Tour SE 700. The sleigh borrows the hood, frame, front suspension and skis from another snowmobile. A second set of fully suspensioned rear skis smoothes out the ride.

    The inside of the sleigh remains a balmy 60 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to an innovative heating system. Via hoses attached to the tow-bar, the antifreeze from the snowmobile engine is run back to the sleigh where it circulates through a radiator with a two speed fan. Special high tech insulation material rated R-12, along with a custom lapcover and tarp, keep the heat in, even at cruising speeds.
    "I put over 600 kilometres on the sleigh over Christmas, all at 30 below, and I wasn't cold at all," says John.

    The back of the sleigh drops down into a ramp so that John can simply wheel in on his all-terrain power chair. "I wheel straight in and ratchet myself down with tie-downs from a semi. The idea is to have my wheelchair right with me."

    A sturdy roll-bar is built into the sleigh to provide safety in the event of a rollover. Two-way communicators let John and his driver stay in touch, and a heated visor keeps his view clear.

    John concedes that it hasn't been cheap to build his sleigh. But many of the components and materials used were donated or supplied at cost by a number of Winnipeg businesses interested in the concept.

    It's been such a successful venture that John and his partners have formed a company and applied for a patent. They hope to manufacture sleighs for other disabled outdoors men and women-or sell the patent to a larger company that commits to the idea.

    John wants the world to know that a severely disabled person can still enjoy outdoor sports. He's been in touch with Supertrax, Snow Goer and Hotsled magazines-all of which are interested in doing a spread on John and his sleigh.

    Meanwhile, if you'd like more information about John's sleigh, you can write to him c/o the John Boyd Foundation, 1426 Elgin Avenue West, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 1B6.

  2. #2
    This is great. Any photos? Maybe a website?

    Onward and Upward!

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